The Los Angeles Lakers kick off the preseason this Sunday afternoon with a highly-anticipated matchup against the Brooklyn Nets in what could be a preview of this year’s NBA Finals.
The excitement surrounding this game not only was about the return of basketball but also the star power on both sides with both teams having their own “Big 3.”
It appears the star power will be lacking in this game though, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise with it being the preseason opener. Frank Vogel revealed after Friday’s practice that LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza will all not be playing while Anthony Davis is only expected to play a quarter.
“So Russ and Bron and Melo are not gonna play and Trevor missed practice again today with a sore foot so he will not play,” Vogel said. “There may be others but as of right now, those are the guys that will not play. Anthony will play, likely just the first quarter and we’ll huddle up after practice tomorrow and see if any of the other guys will not be in there. But right now, that’s where we’re at.”
As Vogel mentioned, Ariza is dealing with a minor foot issue that has kept him out of the last two practices, while the other three aren’t missing the game due to injury purposes, just to keep them fresh for the regular season.
It’s fair to assume that Brooklyn will be without one of its stars as well with Kyrie Irving not yet in training camp due to coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols. The Nets haven’t yet announced if Kevin Durant and James Harden will be play so it remains to be seen with them as well.
With the Lakers being without some key players, it will give others an opportunity to make a strong first impression on the organization. The Lakers have not yet sorted out their starting lineup or rotations, so there is a lot up for grabs this preseason.
Vogel gives insight into how he will handle training camp and preseason
With a short training camp and only six preseason games to work with, Vogel will not have a lot of time to prepare his team for Opening Night.
He recently discussed how he plans to handle everything, with the hope of intense practices and the main core playing at least a couple of games together.
“We’re starting hard with practice, we’re going to go after it,” Vogel said. “Today, tonight will be a lot of system implementation, no contact with full-speed and in terms of the preseason games, just striking a balance. Our main guys are not going to play all the games. I don’t want to put a number on how many they’re going to play, but it’d be nice to probably get at least two games where our core is playing significant minutes together, if not the whole game. But it’s just a matter of striking that balance. The six games give us a luxury to play some of the guys towards the end of the bench too to get a better look at them.”
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